I blame Gary Spruce. I was having a perfectly nice Friday afternoon sorting out some resources for my jazz lessons when he sent me a link to this music blog.
You can read it here.
Below is the comment I posted. I wrote in haste in a state of irritation. I am going to come back to this and write a more considered reply but in the meanwhile this is what I wrote under his article.
I am really dismayed by your post. For years I was nervous about teaching music because because of my lack of a traditional “classical” western education. I watched so called musicians who lacked the ability to teach primary school children attempt to teach music but then write off the children because their methods were inadequate.
You are right to say that primary music isn’t good enough but not because we don’t have an army of classically trained musicians ready to drill the children.
I believe that music is fundamental to our humanity. Every society has developed its own music. The oldest implement found was a flute. In some societies there is no distinction between audience and performer. If I had my way all teacher training would contain music education. I would share with all student teachers the work of Kodaly, Dalcrose, John Paynter – all deeply musical people who understood how children learn about music.
Despite my inability to play an instrument to grade 8 I am familiar with many different traditions of music education that I use to ensure the children in my classes make real musical progress.
I realise that I am unlikely to persuade you but I think it is important I try because when articles like this go unchallenged it cause many unconfident teachers to feel inadequate and to give up. ANY teacher who is willing to put in some time to understand music education can be a perfectly good music teacher. There are so many valuable genres of music that are children are entitled to learn about. There is a reason that glockenspiels and triangles feature in the classroom. Every day I see children composing, performing and evaluating music. We listen obsessively to Chopin’s etudes so we can create stop go animations to match the melodies. We blow kazoos to mimic trumpets, we write songs, we perform at The Royal Albert Hall, we rip up paper to create a myriad of sounds to use in our compositions, we clap, we stamp, we chant, we sing, we rap, we listen, we play boomwhackers, we learn whole class violins with a proper tutor, we play recorders and we absolutely LOVE our glocks and triangles.
Now I’m aware that this is a bit ranty so I am going to stop now and maybe post a more considered response on my primary music blog.
If you want feel free to look at my school music blog. I don’t think you are going to rate it very highly!